The orcas joined the swimmer in West Vancouver’s Batchelor Bay.
Debbie Collingwood is a long-distance swimmer and Vancouverite. She was planning to swim across the English Channel this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.
Because pools are closed, she’s been training mostly in open water. Recently, she was swimming in Batchelor Bay near Whytecliff Park, and she wasn’t alone.
Meyrick Jones, her friend, was in a kayak with her for safety. But also nearby was a pod of orca whales. There were either three or four of the animals. Jones spotted the whales first. His first reaction was amazement to see the pod of orcas.
But then it was concern: Jones and Collingwood were right in the pod’s path. Jones told Collingwood to come over to the kayak, and she grabbed on to its side with her legs tucked up against the hull.
The pod passed them by. The largest of the orcas came alongside them, and the other orcas went underneath the kayak. Collingwood and Jones weren’t too worried about the pod being interested in them, but they wanted “to be respectful” and let the animals pass in peace.
Collingwood said she was fortunate to have such an experience. She was awed at being so close to the creatures:
I think I am incredibly lucky to have had that experience. I grew up on the North Shore. One of the things I love about it is the nature, whether it’s in the mountains or the ocean, I think it just gives me an even greater respect for where we live and a greater respect for who we share space with, both human and animals.Debbie Collingwood
She said that swimming in the ocean usually leads to seal encounters, not whale encounters. She has “always assumed [whales are] out there,” but she hadn’t seen any while swimming until now. The encounter won’t stop her from swimming in the ocean in the future.
Watch the stunning encounter in the video posted by Jones to Instagram:
Article source: North Shore News
Featured image source: Meyrick Jones